Revised 2021 Fiat Panda celebrates 40th birthday

  • Refreshed styling and new trim levels introduced
  • More versions available with mild-hybrid technology
  • Order books open November 2020, prices from £11,895

What with Botox and fillers becoming the norm to keep us looking young and fresh, it’s no surprise that the Fiat Panda has been given a makeover to mark its 40th birthday.

Not that the Panda you can buy today was launched four decades ago – this is the third generation of a model name introduced in Britain back in 1981. That said, the current shape was introduced to these shores in 2012, so it’s an ageing design by modern standards, but of a similar vintage to the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up, two of its key rivals.

New Panda trim levels for 2021

Grabbing most of the limelight in the refreshed range is the Panda Sport, the first time such an athletic-sounding trim level has graced the range.

Grey 2021 Fiat Panda Sport front three-quarter

Fans of the older, well-regarded Panda 100HP are likely to be disappointed that this Sport makeover shares the same 70hp mild-hybrid 1.0-litre engine introduced earlier in 2020. In fact, for front-wheel drive Pandas, this is now the only option, meaning the Sport is no quicker than the entry level model.

Still, it looks the part if show’s more important to you than go. Body-coloured exterior fittings are amplified by new 16-inch alloy wheels shrouding red brake calipers, while darkened rear windows lend it an upmarket air.

Inside you’ll find titanium-coloured dashboard trim, a black roof lining and grey seat trim with red stitching.

White 2021 Fiat Panda City Life rear three-quarter

Also new is entry-level Panda that does without a trim level name and replaces the previous Pop, while the outgoing Easy and Lounge versions are superseded by the Panda City Life.

In terms of styling, the City Life is marked out with black exterior features such as side mouldings, roof bars, door mirror housings and exterior handles. That same look, plus front and rear skid plates, and four-wheel drive, is shared with the renamed Panda Wild 4x4, which continues with the characterful 85hp TwinAir petrol engine.

Changes for the Panda Cross

Both the front-wheel drive City Cross and four-wheel drive Cross continue to deliver the most rugged looks in the Panda family, with a number of modifications to keep their appeal buoyant.

2021 Fiat Panda Cross interior

Biggest news for the mild-hybrid Panda City Cross is the introduction of a new blue and black cloth and faux leather upholstery for the seats and door panels, with contrasting silver stitching.

TwinAir-engined Panda Cross 4x4 models also have new upholstery – grey and black in this instance – and dashboard trim made from the waste from wood processing. Externally the two are visually distinguished by the 4x4’s silver, rather than body-coloured, styling accents.

No fully electric Panda… yet

While the mild-hybrid engine option is the most efficient option with CO2 emissions as low as 123g/km, its tiny battery means fully electric running isn’t possible for more than very short bursts.

There’s no fully electric Panda on sale in the UK to rival Volkswagen’s e-Up – if you want a zero-emission small Fiat then your only option is the all-new electric 500, with deliveries set to begin over the winter.

Silver 2019 Fiat Centoventi concept car front three-quarter

However, Fiat has teased a more practical Panda-sized electric car with the Centoventi concept in 2019, a production version of which could share its underpinnings with the all-new 500. We’ll keep you informed if that comes to fruition.

What this means for you

Despite being the best-selling car in Italy year after year, the Polish-built Panda has been a bit of a leftfield choice, particularly given the chic desirability of the Fiat 500 it shares showroom space with.

Its time may be coming, though, as these modifications provide a fresh impetus for a practical line-up of small, easy to drive cars that other manufacturers are ceasing to produce.

Mild-hybrid models make the most sense, but the 4x4 Pandas have definite appeal for those who live in particularly rural parts of the country, even more so now that the Suzuki Jimny is no longer sold.

Orders for the revised Panda can be placed from November 2020, with prices ranging from £11,895 to £17,995.

Parkers will be among the first to drive the refreshed Fiat Panda, so keep this page bookmarked for the latest news and views.

Further reading

>> How good is the new electric Fiat 500?

>> Fancy a small SUV? These are the best of the best

>> Find out how much your car is worth with a Parkers valuation

Blue 2021 Fiat Panda Cross rear three-quarter